The Japanese garden in Bad Langensalza is often seen as the most exotic and international attraction in the German state of Thuringia. But the Chinese Garden in Weissensee (China-Garten Weißensee) is just as stunning and well worth a visit.
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Where is the garden and how do I get there?
Also known as the Garden of Eternal Luck (“Garten des ewigen Glücks”), the Chinese Garden can be found in the heart of Germany.
By car, it takes 40 minutes from Weimar or Erfurt and an hour from the student city of Jena. If you’re visiting on a day trip from Dresden, schedule in two and a half hours.
Weissensee doesn’t have a train station nor a big bus station. So getting here by public transport is tricky and would involve lots of local bus hopping. Driving is your best bet. Book your rental car here.
The entrance can be accessed from the marketplace and street Johannesstraße. You can exit here or at the end of the garden’s slope by the lake pagoda, which is free to visit.
The little town of Weißensee, as it is properly written in German, isn’t too hard to pronounce. Remember the actress Rachel Weisz? Say her last name, add the syllable en (as in endeavor) and say zehhh (not see).
What makes it special?
The Chinese Garden in Thuringia was a very unique project. On over 5400 square meters on a former cemetery, Chinese workers from Shangai created the garden in only four months in 2011.
It’s deemed an accessible work of art. Not only that but it beautifully merges traditional Chinese gardenscaping with historian European architecture, blending in with an old city wall and views over a lake from a slope. Governor Peter Albach says it’s unique in all of Europe.
What is there to see?
Coming from the old town center of Weissensee (also worth a stroll!), you won’t find it hard to spot the entrance of the garden. Two lion statues frame the round entrance from where you can follow several winding paths around the ponds, pavilions and bamboo groves.
Take some time to appreciate the wonderful details in the carvings, mural reliefs and statues that evoke traditional China. Those were all made in China.
If you want to really soak up that zen feeling, order a freshly brewed Chinese tea or sip on some jackfruit ice cream. You can take a Chinese tea rose with you as well.
Plants: cypress, pine, bamboo, Chinese redwood, Chinese apple and Nothofagus Antarctica
Total of 13 mural reliefs and 26 sculptures
Planned by garden architect Jens-Christian Wittig and Chinese garden experts
Overall costs: 2.8 million euro (80% funding)
What else can you see in Weissensee?
Since the Chinese garden doesn’t have a proper restaurant, you can’t dine there. However, the town has multiple restaurants, so you can satisfy your hunger.
At the marketplace, you can sit in a local cafe. Proper steaks you can get at the COLUMBUS-Steakhaus at “Alten Gewürzspeicher”. Alternatively, there’s Greek food at restaurant Rhodos beside the Gondola Pond.
For a broader selection of restaurants, Erfurt is a great option. Plus, there’s plenty of things to see in the capital of Thuringa as well.
Speaking of the pond, you can stroll around its shores on the well kept paths to soak up even more nature. Up on the hill, next to the camping grounds of Weissensee, you can also visit a historic windmill.
The solid tower windmill is no longer in use but functions as a museum where you can learn more about the traditional job of a miller and really see the workings of it all. There are no English information boards, however but it’s interesting to look at nonetheless.
Need more inspiration? Check out these Germany travel tips
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